Carrie Schuler is a Principal Resource Geologist at New Hope Group. A busy full-time working mother of two teenage boys, she recently added entrepreneur to her list of achievements.
Carrie has had plenty of long and hard days at work. For the past 22 years she has been working on mine sites in Central Queensland and NSW, all while raising her two boys.
That’s why she was so happy to discover a love of surfing in her late 30s. On weekends she would hit popular beaches and riding the waves allowed her to destress from her busy life. However, she soon encountered a problem that was ruining all the relaxation and enjoyment she’d just had on the water.
“While public beaches have change rooms, they would always be a fair hike away from where I would park my car, not to mention how unhygienic they are,” said Carrie.
“So, I’d be at my car getting changed out of my wetsuit – which if you’ve worn one before you know how difficult that is at the best of times. I’d have tourists walking past ogling me or a car load of people pulled up beside me and staring as they waited for my carpark. It would leave me flustered, embarrassed and rushing to get dressed as quickly as I could.
“One day after unintentionally flashing a few people passing by I came home and started googling to find a product that would allow me to get changed in privacy. Something simple and quick, without cumbersome equipment or requiring tools. I couldn’t find anything on the market that was suitable.
“As a geologist and having a science background, I’ve always liked to solve problems. I started pondering the idea of creating something myself. As soon as I got the idea in my head, I couldn’t let it go.”
Carrie had the idea at the end of Covid in 2020, however work and family commitments quickly put it on the backburner. In 2022 she realised she needed to get serious and commit if she wanted to bring the idea to life.
“Once I decided it was now or never I really started to get traction. I locked in the design and found a seamstress and a manufacturer. Then there were a ton of design modifications as I kept finding ways to improve on it. I guess you could say I became a little obsessed,” Carrie said with a smile.
Carrie’s trademarked product, the BootiBlind, launched on August 2. The outdoor privacy curtain conveniently attaches to the boot of your hatchback car using Velcro®, allowing complete privacy to get changed. The material is strong but still lightweight and has the added benefit of sun protection.
“It’s hard to believe that I have finally accomplished it. I had no idea when I went into it just how much time, effort and money is involved in getting a product on the market. But I always believed in what I was trying to create and knew it would genuinely help people, that encouraged me to keep going for what turned out to be a very long journey.
“Being an entrepreneur has certainly been challenging, but it has also been so rewarding. And I have to say there is nothing more satisfying then when I am setting up the BootiBlind after a surf and someone stops to ask me about it and where can they get one for themselves. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve solved a problem not just for me but for other people too.”
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